How ‘special snowflakes’ kill a raiding guild

It’s been some time since I last posted, mainly because a lot of things have been going on IRL – I’ve moved from freelancing back into agency work, and with my kidlet now in high school, time is tight in general. As a result of this, I’ve been spending much less time in game, and found myself quite burnt out late last year, to the point where I wasn’t really logging on much outside of raids, and even took a month-long break over December.

Jeez – was that the worst thing I could have ever done.

In my absence, the ‘special snowflakes’ lurking in our guild took over. Literally tried to cause a guild coup. We managed that for a time, but the behind-the-scenes lies and bullshit that continued throughout caused us to take a ‘sit back and wait’ approach, rather than buying into drama we had no time for.

We couldn’t believe how a group of ‘adults’ (read – most are 30+ at the very least) could do what they were doing, and knew people were being manipulated, so we just waited. There were screenshots of flat out lies sent around to other raiders via email, feelings were hurt for no good reason, and people were generally behaving like I was the enemy.

Funny thing was, I wasn’t even around for most of it, nor was I in any way involved. I was used as the whipping girl by a number of people who took issue with my burnout, which had unfortunately translated into me being cranky and over it on a number of occasions during raids, hence why I took a break from the game – I was sick and tired of the ongoing whinging from a number of people behind the scenes, and that was showing in my attitude.

They were also using it as an excuse to ‘be unhappy’. Reality is, you create your own happiness, so I was gobsmacked at the amount of ‘power’ I apparently have to fuck with people’s enjoyment of a game I love, and actually want to enjoy myself!

The result? Insidious is no longer progression raiding, and 6 of our core raiders left with our ‘second team’ over a period of weeks and joined a guild we took in last year to help them survive with our extras. Effectively, after almost 6 years of managing, running and maintaining Insidious, it’s all over, and we’re now a social guild of mainly alts with a few non-raiding mains.

Myself and four other guys made the decision to leave Nagrand, which has been my home since I started playing WoW, and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I was literally crying when I was speaking with the guys about joining our new guild on Caelestrasz, but luckily for me, I already knew a number of them from when they were raiding on Nagrand, so they were nothing but supportive and understanding of my angst.

They knew all about our good reputation as a guild over a period of YEARS, and welcomed us with open arms. It’s hard to let something you’ve worked so hard to build go, and it’s even harder to let go when you know people are being cajoled and manipulated into leaving by some of the people we previously trusted 100%, but I think we’ve made the best decision for us.

So how did it all come about?

Effing WoD, and ‘mythic’ raiding.

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As soon as the announcement was made about 20 man mythic raiding in WoD, a few people in our core team got all fired up about ‘switching up to 25s now so we have a good team for WoD’.

Errrrr – excuse me? WoD is HOW far away people?!

The leader of our ‘second team’ (I shall call him ‘Fucknuckle’ in the interests of storytelling) had originally wanted to join us to move up to 25 man raiding, but was denied that opportunity for both himself and his team based on his horrendous attitude towards the officers of Insidious and me (who recruited them, mind you) in particular. He started getting in people’s ears over Christmas/New Year and that’s where it all began. We came back to raiding to a lot of chatter about ‘we have to switch up or the guild will die’, and there was pressure to look at combining the two teams or joining other guilds to do so.

There was a slight problem with this, however.

Fucknuckle is a misogynistic, egotistical and downright nasty prick. He wanted to switch up to 25s desperately so ‘his team’ could be carried through content we’d already mastered – they didn’t even kill Garrosh N until 3 weeks ago for the first time, and they’ve been raiding MoP since release.

There had been early discussions on sharing experienced and lesser experienced raiders between teams, but our core team had zero interest in that, so we made the decision as an officer group to intentionally keep the teams separate, and recruit separately (that’s a whole other story I won’t go into here).

This essentially left Fucknuckle powerless in our guild, and cut off from any access to the main raid team. Hence the bullshit over Christmas, when a few combined runs were done and a ‘few’ people started talking about WoD, and he somehow managed to convince them his team was the better option for heroic raiding.

He even went to the effort of demanding a ‘change of leadership’ on our guild forums because we DARED to take a short break from the game over the holiday period, and approached people who are long-term real life friends, trying to poach them to his re-formed guild once they left. He and others were whispering them saying ‘you’ve been abandoned’, when our friends were fully aware of the entire situation, and found it endlessly amusing.

This from the ‘leader’ of a team who always started raids late, had people afk’ing constantly mid-raid, and couldn’t maintain a stable roster to save his life. No guild website, no paid voice server, no effort – wanted us to go to all the effort of recruiting for him, but wanted veto power over who was trialled in OUR guild.

Sounds appealing for successful heroic raiding, doesn’t it?

Well now he has all the ongoing pains in our arses (plus a few ‘friends’ who joined them to keep raiding), and it’s only a matter of time until the ‘special snowflakes’ start causing the same drama they’re well known for – people always revert to type once the honeymoon period is over. We wish them – well, something.

Special snowflakes are a pain in any officer’s ass.

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There is no place for special snowflakes in a progression raiding guild – full stop. As soon as people start making demands as individuals rather than thinking of the team first and foremost, the slippery path to mutually-assured destruction is set.

We had a number of them, and they came and left and came back again like the guild was their own revolving door. They thought the grass was greener elsewhere, but overestimated their ability and were often benched in ‘more progressed guilds’ so begged to come back, time after time.

And I let them – I forgave them.

I’m a good person who cares for the FRIENDS I play with, so I forgive. And get kicked in the face. Good behaviour for a while, then straight back to the bullshit that being a shut-in recluse with nothing else in life than work and WoW creates.

When one person in particular got into cahoots with Fucknuckle, I knew the inevitable would happen. We WANTED it to happen – we were totally over the ongoing demands to ‘not take undergeared people’ or ‘not take people who are shit’ – people too easily forget that you NEED to give people chances, and often they surprise even the most elitist asshat with the work they do to improve. GOOD PEOPLE>EXPERIENCE any day.

What’s funny is…

There was always a back up plan.

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As engaged and responsible officers, we always had a Plan B. That was to find a new home who could accommodate us as a group with the loyal people who stayed. A few of us had already had discussions with a number of guilds off-server about it, and we had a loose plan in mind, as well as a couple of options, though many meant moving to the Horde, and we weren’t particularly keen on that.

We weren’t going to divulge Plan B openly until we knew what would happen with our guild however, as we wanted it to survive if possible, but that wasn’t to be the case.

We’re now happily ensconced in a 25 man heroic raiding guild on Caelestrasz, and in the period of two weeks are already 7/14H, soon to be 9/14H.

That feels good.

REALLY good.

I love not having any responsibility other than my own job as a melee, and the guild we’re in now have policies and rules that mirror our own in Insidious (the problem we had was people not respecting those rules, and often overtly flaunting them with no real repercussions). There’s an added bonus for us now of having a GM who genuinely believes a guild is NOT a democracy, and that is SO. REFRESHING.

On a sad and pathetic note however, ‘someone’ took it upon themselves to send this to our GM on Cael this week and promptly delete the toon…

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 7.03.04 pm

We know who did it. My new GM thought it was hilarious, and sent it to me straight away with a ‘oooooh someone doesn’t like you’. Understandably, I was quite pissed about it, but was given the following sage advice from a friend,

“Don’t mud wrestle a pig, you just get filthy and the pig likes it.”

Well you know what, you coward? I’m not going to mud wrestle you, but…

FUCK YOU.

You failed, and made a total dick of yourself to boot. Enough said, really.

Oh wait…

kartoosh111-2182600

From 3/14H to 7/14H  in two weeks, with zero drama to deal with, and a team of like-minded people with no tolerance for egotistical asshattery. Pure win.

Oh, you haven’t seen me around?

I haven’t been slack, I’ve been busy.

Busy with some serious writing projects that seemed to materialise out of nowhere from December onwards, and that are stretching into April at this point. Good thing for me, bad thing for my blogging habits 😦

Busy giving up smoking after 20-odd years on and off, and that shit is HARD. My house is very clean though, and so is my yard.

quitsmoking

Yes, yes I am. I’ll scratch your effing eyes out if you look at me sideways like that again!

My raid buddies haven’t been liking me too much, as sitting still in front of the computer and not being able to SMOKE THE PAIN OF A WIPE AWAY hurts. My partner isn’t liking me too much either, as my new obsession with cleaning and tidying and throwing things out and not standing still is making him feel a tad stressed.

I’ll get over it soon though (I hope). I’ve been playing less WoW in order to keep myself busy and not think about smoking so much, and I’ve also been …

Busy preparing myself for a new addition to the family. No I’m NOT pregnant, but my ‘givingupsmokingehhrmahgherdddi’mgoingtodie’ present/distraction is THIS gorgeous thing…

My new Irish Wolfhound baby!

My new Irish Wolfhound baby!

He’s AMAZING, and he arrives in just under a week!

I do plan on getting back into blogging soon, but given my next post would currently be entitled ‘Fuck Luck’ thanks to some horrendous lack of the aforementioned in our raid team, it might be better left for a week or two. I hope you’re all well and happy! xx

hot tip: wrathion questline

I finally got to 10/10 10/10 sigil jiggers today, and was able to move on to the next step in the legendary quest chain, which is killing the Sha in Terrace of the Endless Spring and looting a chimera thingo off him.

This bit is where the tip comes in...

This bit is where the tip comes in…

As I had already done Terrace LFR this week, I thought I would test if you could still loot the quest item if you were saved to the instance loot-wise.

The short answer is that it was a SUCCESS – you can INDEED do Terrace for a 2nd time in the same lockout and loot the Sha for the quest item. The ensuing questline is awesome, to say the least (spoiler alert!)…

Gimme some love - and a gem!

Gimme some love – and a gem!

I now have my drool-worthy Sha-Touched gem – now all I need is the weapon I can socket it into!

I hope this tip helps!

Between a rock and a hard place > when casuals want to become core

The sign says it all…

I’ve had this ‘insidious’ feeling of anxiety building over the past few weeks that I just haven’t been able to put a cause to. But with MoP now only days away, I’ve finally figured out what’s been scratching away at the back of my mind…

What will happen to our guild on launch week?

Having been a WoW player since 2008, I’ve seen my share of tiers and expansions, and the inevitable comings and goings of raiders over time. This experience tells me that Insidious could (potentially) be in for a challenge in a little over a week.

The great thing about our guild is that we have non-raiders, social members, casual raiders and (hard)core raiders all actively engaging with each other through various interests. They talk about stats and gems. They talk about addons *rolls eyes*. They are beginning to talk about class changes, and theorycraft. On rolling a new character, they ask questions of people with that class as a main, and they get cogent, helpful answers without any elitist epeen. They tell dirty jokes in guild chat while the core team is raiding, often leading to outbursts of laughter and spitting of wine in vent (*note to self – turn guild chat off during raids – your keyboard can’t take much more wine abuse!).

They roll outrageous panda names ‘Huflungpoo & Yooflungpoo’ on placeholder characters, run to Stormwind and get all up in the grill of some Enigma players outside the AH.

The offending soon-to-be-panda trolls at the scene of the crime…

This is the magical mystery woofer – afk as usual…

On that note, does anyone know of an addon that can enable players to see the main of someone on an alt? This woofer worgen we were taunting was a truly magical being, as he went quiet for a bit, then came out with ‘Genowen & Finia, huh.’

uh oh, busted.

“YOU’RE A MAGICAL WOOFER MYSTERY WORGEN! PLEASE DON’T TELL MY GM, OR I’LL HAVE TO KICK MYSELF IN THE ASS!!”

He found out our mains from our little baby pandas-in-waiting?! What the, Mr Magical Mystery Worgen!! Does anyone know of where this trickery originates?

*cough* ok, back on topic. I just had to ask if anyone knows how he did it.

All this shows that we promote a guild culture where it’s the people, not the progression status, that keeps everyone logging in. Everyone has value – hell, that’s why they’re in the guild!

With a 3-night raid schedule, being a lootmaster currently trying to get her non-math brain around implementing an EPGP loot system, and the additional responsibilities being an active GM requires, I sometimes feel a bit ‘stretched’ to do what I do best – getting to know every member of the guild through actually spending time with them, doing what they want to do. (Wanna kill a world boss? No problem, even if the whale shark DID kill us 10 times last time)! I have a feeling it’s about to step up a notch.

Here is where the rock and a hard place comes in…

What happens when casuals want to become core?

I’m blessed to be part of a great guild of people who range in age from 16 to 50+ (the 16 year old LIED TO ME! but we let him stay, as a pet. And we tease him, mercilessly), and I’ve had the great pleasure of 5-manning, raiding, pvping and being a general dingleberry with all of them. All have varying schedules for their WoW time, and that often impacts on the content they consume in-game. Over the course of cataclysm, we’ve seen various core raiders take a step back for real life stuff, and we’ve recruited to fill the gaps.

What we have right at this moment is a highly competitive raid team that have been playing together long enough to have developed that x-factor of raiding – group synergy. We’re running a core roster of 14-15 on progression content, and we’re planning a second ‘casual’ team for Saturday afternoons in MoP so that guildies with more limited schedules can still access current content through a more relaxed approach. We’ve pre-planned as much as is humanly possible, but there will always be a curve ball we didn’t anticipate.

There will always be players who really WANT to play in the core team, but who just can’t commit to 3 solid nights of raiding. They always have the best of intentions, but there are some people you just know can’t realistically commit. Also:

  • Some won’t be happy with what they see as a ‘B’ team, even though that team can be just as competitive on a more limited schedule – it just takes more planning and preparation.
  • Some will push for a core spot based on time in guild, history, raid composition etc, and will be very vocal when they’re politely declined.
  • Some have only recently started playing the game, and don’t have the experience needed for progression content – these guys would benefit most from a casual team.
  • Some simply don’t have the reaction speed required to raid competitively, even though we love them to death.

It’s always a tricky situation to be in. Do you:

  • prioritise skill over friendship?
  • make contribution to progression during the most recent tiers a requirement?
  • prioritise friendship over skill?
  • ignore all history, and create an optimal core team from a pool of classes and skill sets?

Grrr… arrrgh…

It’s really doing my head in. It’s important to keep my guild as happy as possible, but it’s impossible to please everyone. I’ve made some big long posts on the guild forums about our expectations for the core team, which we’ve never done before. It shows how we’re evolving as a ‘core progression raid team’, but doesn’t impact so much on non-raiding or casual guild members.

I think the other part of my anxiety is that I’m anticipating comments along the lines of ‘you’ve gone hardcore, but the guild is ‘social progression’ oriented’. It’s hard to explain to someone who doesn’t want to hear it that a guild doesn’t have to be forced into being ‘one thing’. Our experience during Cataclysm taught us:

  • that truly difficult content (think t11 pre-nerfs in 346 gear) will always bring the committed players to light
  • that when the going gets tough, the dedicated members will see it through, and the casuals will drop off
  • that if someone was once Horde, they will likely return to the Horde side when you’re at a progression road block to chase that boss kill – once a Hordie, always a Hordie *evil grin*
  • that people all have a different idea of what ‘hardcore’ is – some think it’s time investment or heroic v/s normal content, others think it’s mentality
  • that people will get upset when they’re not included in the core run, but will also understand why when it’s communicated properly
  • that Malfurion is a sexy beast, and needs to get rid of Tyrande…
  • that our first crack at a formal loot system via Konfer Suicide Kings really didn’t work for serious progression; in fact, it favoured and even sometimes encouraged casuals/casual behaviour
  • that most of our more casual guildies are laid back about raiding, and are happy to fill in when they’re online or sit out farming gold by dancing on a mailbox or trolling guild chat for lols
  • that there are plenty of fun things to do outside of PVE raiding, and it’s only going to get better in MoP.

Now do you see why I feel so freaking anxious?!

And what about returning players??!!

Returning players – I LOVE them! Our ‘retired’ rank is rather overstuffed at this point, and Mortigen mentioned to me over the weekend that we should probably have a clean out of people who hadn’t logged in for over a year, but I just. couldn’t. do. it. I believe my immediate and vehement response was something along the lines of:

‘NO! They might come back one day! I don’t want them to feel all alone and be guildless if they log back in.’

I just get so excited when an old friend logs on out of the blue after a long absence, but it always brings its own set of challenges for the officers to manage:

  • established groups will change as a result of shifts in the guild’s social dynamics, potentially leading newer members of the guild to feel marginalised through the lack of ‘history’ old friends share
  • raid spots in the core team are already competitive, and good players are hard to find. There could be pressure to include a returning player over an existing raider for various composition/skill reasons
  • people returning after progression has commenced who are behind on the gear curve and need extra help.

My tentative approach is going to be to err on the side of caution until people hit level 90 and are geared for raiding. We have made the expectations clear, and we plan to enforce that, even if it means delaying our start to progression. This includes initially saying that returning players or people who haven’t raided t12/13 won’t have any priority for core spots.

The people who have done the hard yards recently are those who ‘officially’ get priority, and I think that’s a good thing – it rewards those who have gone the distance with us through a challenging expansion.

We plan on getting a second team up and running, which will also help the core roster with being able to rotate experience in and out of the casual team. We’ve done all we can, and now it’s up to the gods to see what happens.

How about you? What do you think the challenges will be for your guild in MoP?

Warrior dies, untamedhellcat hits 86401.3 dps?!

86401.3

Give it up for Ferocious Bite! *cheer, roar – the crowd goes wild!*

I ‘should’ feel bad for screen shotting this H DS parse, as the numbers are ‘average’ in comparison to pre-5.0.4 numbers, but hey – our warrior was dead (PERHAPS due to the fact my DBM wasn’t working ‘properly’ and I managed to kill our bare tank when dispelled *insert evil face and standing on top of tank here*, which then killed Elvs thanks to being second on threat…) and there was no res available after ressing said tank (too bad, so sad), but that Ferocious Bite still has some serious kick!

No, it wasn’t sustained, and yes, it was just before the boss died, but you know what?

I DON’T CARE!!!!

Bring on MoP and big yummy numbers!!!

Oh yes, yes I do…

That ‘other’ durid has a legendary by the way…. *cough*

We are the Bane of Blackwing!

My core raid team in <Insidious> of Nagrand-US are still hard at work, madly trying to finish off the Glory of the Cataclysm Raider meta and the last few guild raid achievements we’re chasing before the patch hits next week. We got to punch yet another baddie dragon in the face on Wednesday night – the nefarious Nefarian.

We’re all loving our shiny new titles…

Take that dragon! In yo’ face!

The fight was still a challenge, even kitted out in heroic DS gear (remember the t11 heroics were never hit with the nerf bat), but the time invested was well worth it. When the content was current, we simply ran out of time to finish t11 heroics before Firelands, so it’s quite satisfying to know that we’re a bee’s dick off finishing the meta within the current expansion time frame.

Next up – that horrific and much maligned windy place, Throne of the Four Winds, and yet another shiny title to add to our collection via Al’Akir.

The plan after that? Go back into BoT, kill Ascendant Council (which I am DREADING) and then head in for another Sinestra kill to get some new Dragonslayer titles for the peeps who missed it the first time around. I’m ‘hoping’ our main druid healer has her running shoes on to avoid those bloody cutters this time – poor bugger was hating on that particular dragon BIG TIME!

I wonder if anyone else is still working on finishing these, or if you did them so long ago that it’s old news?

Until next time, happy dragon killing!

Guild Ox reverts to old ranking system, and I’m stoked!

In preparation for MoP, Guild Ox have announced this week that the ‘points system’ for rankings is being reverted as follows:

Mists of Pandaria is only seven weeks away so we have commenced our preparation.

One of the changes that you are about to see is a modification to the ranking system used by GuildOx. Our recent MoP survey, which had over 2000 responses, gave us much clearer insight into what type of ranking system people wanted. We had close to 80% of people say they wanted a simple ranking system or they did not mind what system was used. We also had many, many comments about people being confused or unhappy with the points system and suggesting some interesting (!) alternatives. Some folk found it too difficult to understand the points system, others did not agree with the encounter points weightings and many were just plain unhappy with guilds that killed bosses after them to be still listed higher in the rankings.

After running with a points system now for some time, we are experiencing the pitfalls that are associated with such a system – mainly the complexity in understanding where you will be ranked and the subjective nature of the points weightings.

Consequently, we are shifting back to the system where you are first ranked on the number of tier bosses that you have killed and then by the date/time of the kill. We will continue to normalize timestamps for heroic content. You will see this change happen early this week so we can test it for MoP.

The bottom line – your guild will be ranked based on the time/date of the last boss that you killed. Simple, easy.

Quite frankly, this is a long overdue and positive change to the ranking system. Our guild <Insidious> stalled in progression due to changes in the raid team, but played a pretty mean game of catch up once we had rebuilt.

We ‘thought’ we had finished 12th in 10 man rankings, only to be pipped at the post by a stinky Horde guild for a final rank of 13th on Nagrand US.

Without Guild Ox reverting the ranking system, we ran a high risk of being overtaken by other guilds with no kills for a number of weeks who had happened to have the right team to kill an earlier boss weeks (or even months) before, which would have given them the ‘points’ to overtake us even 2-3 weeks after our own 8/8H kill.

Kudos to Guild Ox for listening to the masses and making the system based on ‘we killed it 10 minutes before you’ rather than ‘we skipped bosses and killed the highest point value boss first on heroic’!

Ding, dong, Deathwing’s dead!

Well I must say I’m TOTALLY stoked – after a long and hard slog through Cataclysm, my amazing guild <Insidious> of US-Nagrand finally killed all the pieces of that evil fucking dragon, Deathwing! While we were a little behind the 8-ball thanks to the loss of a few of our core raiders mid-progression, we pulled things back together for a great finish to the expansion at the end of July. Granted, it was a rather messy kill, as evidenced by the screenshot below…

Yes, that IS one lonely token durid left alive – goooo Diggl! (mostly uh moonkin is 4 a spam moonfare. them haf sum good armors & fite storng)

With the 30% buff in effect, it was admittedly nowhere near as challenging as we had expected, and once we had the bloods under ‘some measure’ of control on the head phase, it was all kill from there. Well, Diggl killed – we just licked our screens and held our breath in the dying seconds, but that’s neither here nor there – a kill is a kill! While I’m on that, look at that silly rogue face-down in the crack! Dunno what he was trying to do – tunnel under the head or something?

Another great achievement was our Glory of the Dragon Soul Raider meta completion, where those of us who have raided throughout t13 got our lovely horn-headed dragons to ride around and poke people in the butt with…

well, some of us got our meta mounts… that other TOOL decided to get his Ashes out… Damn you Finia! One day it SHALL be mine!

We spent the following week completing metas for the rest of the raid team, with a few heroic boss kills still left for one or two that we’ll get to this week, but it really was a great effort by our raid team to complete current content before the end of the expansion – especially as we replaced half our raid team mid-progression and had all the trials and tribulations of gearing them up appropriately for end bosses.

We’re now spending most of our non-Dragon Soul raid nights working our way through some of the t11 and t12 end bosses and achievements we never got around to at the time, and we’re currently sitting at 4th overall on server for raid achievements, so that’ll keep us busy until MoP rolls around, and give us another mount (albeit a fugly one). Can anyone say Heroic Rag? We’ve only just started working on him (30-odd attempts so far), and I wanna see some leg soon!!

Last durid standing = win.

To give some background, we have a long-held tradition in our guild, that some of the most challenging fights are ‘last druid standing’ situations, as per our Sinestra kill a while back…

yup – that’s me still alive and kicking that dragon bitch in the clacker – CAT DURID IS 4 FITE!!!

I must say, some of the most skilled players we have in our guild are druids, and we regularly run with 3-4 of different specs (kitty, bear, healer and oomkin). Admittedly, most progression guilds wouldn’t run that many druids in a 10 man situation, but ours is a case of ‘taking the player, not the class’ as evidenced by the above screenies. As a druid myself, of course I am somewhat biased, but I love the fact we can save the day with some last minute magic to get a boss down in spectacular and nail-biting fashion!

Gotta love it when you hear the massive roar that goes up in vent when what ‘could’ have been a wipe becomes an epic kill 🙂